Having your vehicle break down is always inconvenient. Sometimes it’s downright scary. Knowing what to do in advance will help you make better decisions should it happen to you.
The most important thing is to get to safety carefully. Take your foot off the accelerator and do NOT brake suddenly or hard. Calmly work your way to the breakdown lane, shoulder, or side of the road. Of course, use your turn signal to indicate what you are trying to do. If you are on a freeway and can safely get to an exit, carefully change lanes if necessary to exit the roadway.
Once you have pulled over, put on your emergency flashers. You’ll want your vehicle to be as visible as possible, so pop the hood, put out safety triangles, or light flares if available. Even something as simple as hanging a plastic bag out of your window will draw attention to your vehicle and help avoid an accident.
Your safety is the most important thing. If you can safely do something like change a tire, go ahead. If not, call for professional help. Be sure that you are safely out of incoming traffic either by remaining in your locked vehicle or stand away from the vehicle and wait for help. Unfortunately, many people are injured when they or their vehicle is hit by another vehicle. Also, not every person who stops to “help” has good intentions, so be very cautious when someone offers to help.
If you can safely walk to help, stay on the right side of the road and as far away from traffic as possible. Because of the speeds involved, it is never advisable to walk on an interstate.
Not every breakdown is avoidable. At NAPA AutoCare, we want to do as much as possible to avoid breakdowns with proper maintenance and regular inspections. Ask your Service Advisor if your vehicle has any pending recommendations.